Common Methods of Discovery in a Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases require the collection of information and evidence, regardless of which side you are on. The process of obtaining and reviewing such information in a personal injury case is known as discovery. Continue below to learn which options personal injury parties might have in the discovery process, plus where to get the best advice regarding your recent accident or injury in Indiana.

Indianapolis IN Personal Injury Claims 317-881-2700
Indianapolis IN Personal Injury Claims 317-881-2700

The Personal Injury Discovery Process

After a personal injury complaint and answer is filed with the court, the discovery phase can begin. The discovery process generally takes usually anywhere from 6 to 12 months, but this can vary depending on various factors, such as the current traffic of the court, the amount of investigation required, court delays, rescheduled court dates, and so forth.

During this phase, both the legal teams for both the claimant (party making the claim) and the defendant (the party being sued) will exchange all evidence with one another, including witness information. They will also go before the proceeding judge to let them know how the case is proceeding. Also in the presence of the judge, they will either decide on mediation, which is normally ordered by the judge, and they will move forward with the lawsuit by setting a trial date.

Common Options For Discovery

There are different methods used by the court system to obtain personal injury case information. The two most common methods are depositions and interrogatories and physical exams, Requests for Production, Requests for Admission, and Subpoena Duces Tecum are other methods used to investigate and research all legal claims and defenses.

Depositions

Depositions are formal, recorded interviews conducted under oath and used to learn what a person knows pertaining to the case in question, and as evidence for later use during the trial. Depositions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, but in larger cases it may take several hours and even a day or two to reach completion.

Interrogatories

Interrogatories are a little different but are used for much of the same purpose. Rather than a formal interview in person, interrogatories are a set of written questions that each party sends to the other. Each party must fill out the entire list in writing, under oath, and within a limited period of time (usually between 20 and 40 days depending on the state). Although they are not always phrased in the form of questions, interrogatories always pertain to specific factors surrounding the case, such as reckless driving, distracted driving, and intoxicated driving. Since it is common for both parties to have different versions of what happened in an accident, they are designed specifically to get both sides of the story so that each party can prepare their case before trial.

Physical Exams

It is very common for the defense to request that the claimant be physically examined by a licensed medical practitioner chosen by the defense to verify and confirm the extent of their injuries.  Judges almost always grant these requests.  Although these examiners are obviously biased since they are hand-picked and paid for by the defendant’s insurance carrier, the witness can be cross-examined at trial on any testimony and opinions.

Requests for Production

A Request for Production is a motion that asks the opposing party for specific types of evidence or information that they are in possession or control of. This might include medical records and reports that detail the extent of injuries to the claimant, invoices or documents evidencing lost wages, photos of the scene or injuries, fuel receipts, and similar documents that prove or disprove allegations or statements made by either side.

Requests for Admission

A Requests for Admission is when one party asks the other to either deny or confirm facts. It is basically asking for them to admit to certain statements for the purpose of streamlining the case process. It allows the court and jury to focus on the necessary points of the case.

Subpoena Duces Tecum

A Subpoena Duces Tecum is a special type of subpoena used in cases. They are very similar to Requests for Production in that they ask someone to disclose evidence or information pertaining to the case. But while Requests for Production are reserved for claimants and defendants, a Subpoena Duces Tecum can be applied to expert witnesses, doctors, and other case-relevant entities who are called nonparties.

Are you a Hoosier who is looking for trusted and qualified advice regarding your rights to pursuing compensation for a wrongful accident you were recently injured in? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a no-risk, no-fee personal injury evaluation to explore your eligibility, today. We represent clients all throughout the state of Indiana.

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What You Can Expect From the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

No personal injury case is alike. They each have their own unique set of circumstances. However, most personal injury lawsuits will involve a similar legal progression, from the initial step of filing a lawsuit to the final phase of receiving a verdict or settlement. Continue reading to learn which steps will likely fill in the blanks between the start and finish of a personal injury case, plus where to obtain skilled accident representation for your claim in Indiana.

Personal Injury Law Firm Indianapolis Indiana 317-881-2700
Personal Injury Law Firm Indianapolis Indiana 317-881-2700

Litigation Milestones in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Although your personal injury case will not look like the next person’s, you can count on a few standard litigation milestones after deciding to move forward with a lawsuit, such as hiring an Indianapolis accident attorney and filing a complaint, as well as exploratory investigations, pretrial and discovery, depositions, and more.

Obtaining Legal Representation

The first step after making the decision to sue is to hire a personal injury law firm to represent you. An accident attorney has the proper knowledge, experience, and resources to build a strong and impactful case on your behalf to obtain the maximum settlement possible for your lawsuit.

It is not recommended to represent yourself in a personal injury lawsuit. Not only is the law complex, but the filing and deadline requirements are stringent. Furthermore, representing yourself places you at a much higher risk of losing money. You would be required to pay for all upfront costs and legal expenses, and in the end, likely receive a much lower settlement than you would without legal representation. 

The personal injury lawyer might choose to initiate an exploratory investigation before taking you on as a client. An exploratory investigation primarily involves researching and confirming the defendant’s insurance coverage and your own underinsured coverage. If the lawyer decides you have a viable case, they will commence all the necessary paperwork, making the client-attorney relationship official. Next comes attempting to resolve your case with the defendant’s insurance carrier after you have finished your medical care and if the insurance company does not wish to resolve your case for a full and fair settlement,  next comes filing the lawsuit.

Filing a Complaint With the Court

After establishing the client-attorney relationship, your accident lawyer will take the necessary steps to file a personal injury complaint, which will be physically served on the defendant. From there, the defendant is given time to hire their own legal team and prepare for the first court appearance. The personal injury complaint is the first official legal document in the lawsuit process. It contains the circumstances of the accident, including how the defendant was negligent and the damages you’ve suffered as a result.

Pretrial and Trial

The next major stage in the personal injury lawsuit process is pretrial, which is followed by mediation or a trial. During the pretrial process, the “discovery” phase takes place, which involves both sides exchanging evidence and information, including depositions from both parties, witness statements, expert witness testimonies, and more.

Also, during the pretrial process both sides will appear in front of a judge to agree to or reject mediation. The pretrial phase can take several months due to the intermittent court hearings and scope of evidence collection. Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but some do go to trial.

If your case goes to trial, lawyers will begin to select a jury, set mandatory settlement conferences, debate which pieces of evidence will be allowed at trial, and so forth. Once the trial begins, the process only takes a matter of days. Within a weeks’ time, give or take a few days, the court and jury will decide if and how much the defendant should pay the plaintiff for damages. If the defendant is found liable and ordered to pay, they can choose to appeal, which continues the process for several more months.  The defendant’s insurance company will pay any verdict entered against the defendant, up to the insurance policy limits.

Receiving a Settlement

Both parties can agree to a settlement and close the case at any point in the process, even before a complaint is ever filed. There are many factors used to calculate a personal injury settlement.

The attorneys are responsible for preparing and agreeing upon the release document, which sets forth all the terms of the settlement.

Are you looking for skilled personal injury law firm to represent you in your negligence case in Indiana? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana. We also represent injured victims all across the state.

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The General Stages of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Most personal injury claims do not end up in court. However, when a personal injury claim does turn into a lawsuit, the legal climate changes. Although not all personal injury lawsuits are alike, once the courts are involved, most tend to take on the same succession of steps. Whether you are preparing to enter into personal injury lawsuit, or you are a recent victim of a personal injury and wish to move forward with an accident claim, it would be wise for you to familiarize yourself with what might take place.

Continue reading to learn the general stages of a personal injury lawsuit, and how to get started on your accident claim in Indiana.

Personal Injury Trial Lawyers
Personal Injury Trial Lawyers in Indiana 317-881-2700

When a Personal Injury Claim Goes to Trial

Even though personal injury lawsuits are all different, when they end up in trial, they usually have the same litigation milestones. These milestones lay the foundation of what you can expect the general succession of steps in a personal injury lawsuit to look like. If you have already decided to file a personal injury lawsuit, you have hopefully already hired professional legal representation from a law firm who specializes in personal injury law.

This is the first stage of the process.

Stage 1

The first step to addressing any legal matter is to retain qualified legal representation. However, you do not want to hire just any attorney. It is vital that you seek legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in the type of claim you need to file. In this case, you would hire an Indiana personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury law firms provide free initial case evaluations for you to learn your legal rights to being compensated for your damages and losses.

Additionally, most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they do not collect any lawyer fees unless they recover settlement or verdict for you. If they are unsuccessful at obtaining a settlement for you, there is no obligation to pay them for their services. Be sure to also choose a law firm that has extensive trial and litigation experience.

Stage 2

The next stage of a personal injury lawsuit mostly involves your hired legal team. To determine if you have a valid case, your personal injury lawyer will likely begin an exploratory investigation, starting with a liability investigation and confirming the adequacy of the opposing party’s insurance coverage. Sometimes, this step is done prior to making the client-attorney relationship official.

In the event that your accident lawyer believes your case is valid, they will move forward by filing a personal injury complaint against the defendant in the appropriate civil court. This personal injury complaint is the very first official document of an accident lawsuit. From this time, your personal injury lawyer will have to locate and serve the defendant a copy of the complaint.

Stage 3

After a defendant is served a lawsuit, the defendant will provide a copy of the lawsuit to their insurance carrier and the insurance carrier will hire a defense attorney for the defendant to answer the complaint and defend the case. Under any insurance policy a defendant has with their insurance company, the insurance company chooses the defense attorney and the insurance company pays the defense attorney.

Stage 4

At this stage of the personal injury lawsuit process, the lawyers hired to represent both parties will begin the pretrial process. This is known as discovery, and involves several steps in itself. During this time, both lawyers will exchange all evidence with one another, including witness information. They will also go before the proceeding judge to let them know how the case is proceeding. Also in the presence of the judge, they will decide on all deadlines for filings in the case, a mediation deadline, a final pre-trial conference date and a trial date.

As the discovery stage continues, both lawyers will also schedule depositions and other necessary interviews and statements. This stage of the personal injury lawsuit process can take several months and involve a few court appearances. The amount of time it takes to complete the pretrial stage will depends on various factors, such as the current traffic of the court, the amount of investigation required, court delays, rescheduled court dates, and so forth.

The Final Stage is Trial

The last stage of the personal injury lawsuit process is the actual trial, which can last for several days. The judge will be the ultimate decider, unless it is a jury trial, in which a jury will decide who is at fault for the accident and which damages the plaintiff is entitled to. Most personal injury cases are jury trials.  After the trial, either side can choose to file an appeal. Once all appeals are extinguished, the defendant [ie. defendant’s insurance company] must pay the plaintiff their verdict if they received one.

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers That Will Fight For Your Rights

Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 if you need an experienced personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers are ready and able to recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve after being seriously injured by another’s negligence. You should recover for damages and losses, including medical expenses, hospital bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and more if the damages were caused by another person’s negligence.  We represent injured persons throughout the State of Indiana. Get started with a free consultation, today.

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